Book #26 was Soul Catcher by Michael C. White.Â The back of the book reads:
Augustus Cain is a damaged man haunted by a terrible skill: the ability to track people who don’t want to be found. Rosetta is a runaway slave who bears the scars, inside and out, of a life of servitude to a cruel and unforgiving master. Her flight is fueled by a passion and determination only a mother could feel, and she would rather die than let anyone drag her back to hell. In a dark, volatile time prior to the Civil War, fate has bound the hunted and hunter on a remarkable odyssey from Virginia to Boston and back againâ€”an extraordinary test of character and will, mercy and compassion, that will change them both forever.
I love a good Civil-War-era/1800s-in-the-U.S. historical fiction novel. And this *was* a good one. Cain is a man whoâ€™s more than a little bit lost.Â Heâ€™s basically sleep-walking through life, drunk on either whiskey, laudanum, or both, and gambling for money to live. Except heâ€™s not always a great gambler, and now heâ€™s gotten himself into a debt he canâ€™t run away from.Â When the man he owes money to wants him to use his tracking skills to bring home his runaway slave, Rosetta, Cain doesnâ€™t really have a choice. Soul Catcher is the story of that journey.
Cain is forced to travel with a group of men that you would expect to be slave-catchers… generally either apathetic or downright cruel and sadistic. There is a lot of both the expected and unexpected here, and though I mostly guessed the ending and the decision Cain would make about his life, I never would have guessed the final twist. Some may question how realistic Cain and Rosetta are in their actions and interactions, but I can believe it all the same.
Page count: 415 | Approximate word count: 124,500